Arriving in Krakow this semester?
Afraid of new challenges?
We know you all have millions of questions! Don’t worry - we proudly present the FAQ section with everything you may need.
1. What is ESN AGH?
We are a section of the Erasmus Student Network Poland Association. Our purpose is to support and expand international student exchange programmes, especially the Erasmus+ programme. In this way, we propagate the idea of international integration and encourage to get to know other cultures.
Our motto is "Students helping Students". We are the first line of support for students coming to Krakow under the Erasmus+ programme. We offer our help, organise sport and cultural events as well as trips and parties. To get more information about all our events, check our facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/esnagh/ . To get the brief description of the series of events that we organise, take a look at questions number 26: “What can I do in my free time?”.
Unfortunately, we cannot help you with your problems concerning your courses, with all questions of that kind please check this website: https://www.intcourses.agh.edu.pl/ , contact your supervisor or DIS (see below).
2. What is DIS?
DIS (Department for International Students) is a part of University AGH taking care of international students and exchange programs. You can find them in building A3, room number 12A. Make sure you visit them right after your arrival to set up all formalities. You have to ask for Mrs Luiza Biesaga. She’s truly nice and speaks several languages so don’t worry about communication :) If you have some questions about your stay (especially about any documents) you can look for them on DIS website:
https://www.international.agh.edu.pl/eng/centre-for-international-students/ (they also have FAQ section) or contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org
3. What is the Mentor program?
Each semester many international students from one of the student’s exchanges are coming to Poland. An exchange student has lots of challenges - for most of them it’s their first visit in this country and they don’t know a single word in Polish.
Program Mentor is for local people willing to help exchange students with acclimating to the new city. Mentor is like a first friend for incoming student who will give advice before arrival and during first days will: pick them up from the airport, help with checking in to the dorm, show around the university, give a little tour around the city and show some great places to hang out to feel the real student’s life.
If you want to have a Mentor like that, follow our facebook fanpage and stay tuned ;) The only thing you need to do is to fill in the form that will be available around 1-2 months before your arrival. You can also contact Mentor program coordinators on email@example.com
4. What is the difference between Mentor and supervisor?
Mentor is a student that will be your first Polish friend that will pick you up from the airport, help with checking in to the dorm and help with any problems concerning bank accounts/doctors/public transport or show the best bars in the city (see Mentor program above). He cannot help you with your timetable or courses. For that you need your supervisor - a Polish teacher who will help you with all the papers that you need for your stay, setting your timetable, making your student ID and all official University staff.
5. What courses will I have here? Where to find my timetable?
You can find all the international courses here: https://www.intcourses.agh.edu.pl/ . If you can’t find there what you are looking for contact your supervisor or DIS (see above). Timetables are usually available in the first week of University or shortly before.
6. Can I use my SIM card here?
If you are a citizen of European Union you don't have to pay any additional roaming charges, what means that prices of texting, calling and using data services are the same as if you were in your country (check more details here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile... ).
But be careful! If you call more from abroad than from your country (what happens obviously when you spend four months on Erasmus exchange) your operator may start to charge you for roaming after some time.
It is better than to buy a Polish SIM card and use it during your stay here. There are many places where you can buy and register a SIM card. You can find them all here: https://www.lycamobile.pl/en/store/ To register a SIM card you will need your passport. Some of the most popular telecommunication companies in Poland are: T-mobile, Orange, Plus and Play. You can check their offers before you decide which SIM card you want to buy.
7. What are the benefits of my student ID?
First of all, it gives you a 50% discount for public transport in Poland (trams, buses, trains). Sometimes it gives you also some discount in shops, cafes and bars but you need to ask for it. If you’re staying for longer than one semester, remember to extend your student ID after the first semester - the right time to do it is in October and March. You can do it in Centrum Kart Elektronicznych in building C1, third floor, room 322b (http://www.cp.agh.edu.pl/).
8. How can I apply for a place in the dorms?
You can do it through this website: https://akademik.agh.edu.pl/en/
9. What should I know about the dorms?
After you arrive in Krakow you need to check-in in the dorm and fill in some papers. Remember to have a photo for your Lodger Card (Karta Mieszkańca). Ladies in the dorms usually don’t speak English, so it’s best to have some Polish guide with you - like your Mentor for example :)
Remember to always have your Lodger Card with you and show it when you’re entering the dorms. When you’re leaving the building, leave your key at the reception.
10. I’m arriving in Poland in the night, will there be a problem with check-in to the dorms?
No ;) Just ask your Mentor to let the ladies at the reception know what time you will arrive. They will prepare bedclothes and key for you ;) You will be able to check-in officially and fill in the papers the next day.
11. How can I change the standard of my room?
There is no 100% sure way to do it. You can try to join dorm exchange (“giełda”) and see if someone is willing to exchange their room for yours. You can also try to write an e-mail or talk to a manager of your dorm that may move you to another dorm if there will be free room for you. Ask your Mentor for help since a manager may not speak English ;)
12. How can I pay for the dorms?
After your arrival to Poland, you need to log in to this website: https://panel.dsnet.agh.edu.pl/login?fbclid=IwAR32y70DZfl4K8HkFFXv_cJbkh... with the same login and password that you used to apply for your dorm. Enter the second menu option (it should be named “accommodation”). You will get a bank account number to which you have to send a transfer every month until the 15th. This number is different for every student, so it doesn’t matter what title your transfer will have ;) If you are not able to send transfer through Internet from your bank account - you can do it in the post office. How to do it? Check out "PAYMENT FOR THE DORMS" file attached at the end of FAQ section.
13. And if I don’t want to live in the dorm?
Then you can rent a flat, and there are basically two ways to wrap your head around it.
One of them is checking out our partner’s website – www.pepehousing.com. They offer a marketplace where you can find your perfect place of accommodation. Their site is written completely in English and is made by Erasmus students for Erasmus students.
Moreover, you can save 10% on the booking fee using code esnpoland for all offers.
The second option is to browse Polish advertisement websites like www.olx.pl, www.gumtree.pl or www.otodom.pl. Keep in mind that these websites are only in polish so you will need a helpful Polish friend or a good translator. Here is a mini-dictionary that you may find useful during your search:
Wynajem – renting
Pokój – room
Jednoosobowy – for a single person
Dwuosobowy – for two people
Czynsz – rent
Be aware that polish words change their form among sentences, so you might come across something like pokoju/pokoje/pokojów/pokojami etc. still meaning room or rooms.
Don’t forget that renting a flat is more expensive than living in a dorm. The prices start from around 700/800 PLN for a single room and 500/600 PLN for a double room.
14. Can I use my bank account in Poland?
You can use your credit card but probably your bank will collect some provision from you :/ And it is very possible that you won’t be able to make transfers. That’s why we advise you to set up a Polish bank account or use Revolut app: https://www.revolut.com/en-PL . Find some instructions on how to open a bank account here: https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/opening-a-bank-account-in-poland
15. What should I bring with me?
Most importantly: Letter of Acceptance, Learning Agreement, some photos for your student ID and a passport. If you are coming to Krakow for the winter semester, don’t forget warm clothes ;) It is usually around 0 down to -5 degrees in winter but can sometimes get colder. Apart from that - a lot of positive attitude will do :)
16. What do I have to do after my arrival?
After you check-in to your dorm and rest a bit, go to DIS ( building A3, room number 12A) to set up all formalities. You will also have to meet your supervisor and get your student ID. Apart from that, just enjoy the city :)
17. How can I move around the city? How to get from dorms to my classes?
AGH dorms are really close to the AGH University so don’t worry, you will get to your classes on foot :) If you want to go somewhere further, you can use city bus and trams. The tickets are quite cheap (the cheapest student 20-minute ticket costs only 1,40 PLN). You can buy tickets in ticket machines in all buses and trams and on some bus/tram stops. You can also use mobile app “mobilet”. When it comes to checking the routes and timetables, some very useful apps are: jakdojade and mobilempk. Some other kinds of transport used in Krakow are: city bikes (https://en.wavelo.pl/), taxi, traficar (https://www.traficar.pl/) and uber.
18. And if I want to go to another city?
Well, in this case, you will need to take a bus or a train. Trains in Poland are quite affordable (especially for students with a student ID from Polish university) and you can get by them to basically any bigger town in Poland. You have to buy tickets for the train before getting inside, on the train station or via internet. The official train company website is as follows: http://rozklad-pkp.pl/en/ .
Buses are usually a bit more expensive but they can take you everywhere, even to the smallest village that you won’t be able to pronounce the name of. Sometimes you can buy tickets via internet, sometimes you need to buy it from the bus driver (some useful words are “ULGOWY” - with discount and “BILET” - ticket). With ESN Card you can get some pretty awesome discounts for Flixbus (https://global.flixbus.com/ ) if you buy tickets through their website - read details here: https://esncard.org/discount/flixbus-poland. All bus and train connections can be found on e-podroznik website and mobile app ;)
19. How to get a PESEL number?
You have to fill in the form that you will find in ESN office ;) The form is in Polish so ask someone for help. Then you need to get a stamp of your dorm on it and go to Urząd Miasta (City Office) on Powstania Warszawskiego Street 10 to the Administration department. After a week you can go there again to collect your PESEL number.
20. What is ESNcard?
The ESNcard is the membership card of ESN which means that you can access to all the services offered by the ESN and our partners. With the ESNcard, you will enjoy thousands of discounts (housing, sport, food, bars, etc.) all over Europe. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to participate in thousands of events (trips, cultural events, sports activities, and parties) all year long. Discounts provided by ESNcard are carefully selected to enable you cheaper travelling (airlines, bus and taxi services) and making the most out of your travelling experience. List of our partners includes Ryanair, Logitech, Hostelling International, Uniplaces, The Economist, as well as Flixbus, Ecolines and others. You can check all the discounts at: http://www.esncard.org/ The ESNcard is valid for 12 months and only valid with a photo and correct personal data. The card is strictly personal and cannot be used by anybody else than the cardholder.
21. Who can get the ESNcard?
You can get the ESNcard, if you belong to one of the following groups :
* You are currently on exchange
* You are a member of an ESN section
* You are a Mentor (contact your section for a Mentor's code!)
22. How can I get the ESNcard?
Online! Whenever you want, wherever you want! Go to card.esn.pl and order your ESNcard! Choose your category (Erasmus/Buddy/ESNer) and fill the form. Let the guidebook help you with any problems!
23. How do I get Ryanair and Flixbus discount?
Please visit https://esncard.org/ for more information.
24. Where can I find a list of ESNcard discounts?
25. Where is the ESN office?
It’s on Reymonta Street 17. You need to enter the building, go forward around 10 metres and find ESN office door on your right side. You can always check opening hours on our facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/esnagh/
26. What can I do in my free time?
The possibilities are endless! First of all, you can join all ESN events :) In the meantime you can admire our beautiful city (check most popular places here: https://agh.esn.pl/en/what-see-cracow ), visit museums (National Museum, Schindler’s Factory, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, Underground Museum, exhibition of Beksiński - famous Polish painter- see his paintings here: https://beks.pl/beksinski-obrazy/ ).
You can also enjoy rich nightlife of Krakow around Main Square and Kazimierz district. Remember that drinking in public area (like streets and parks) is forbidden in Poland! The only exception is Miasteczko Studenckie where you can enjoy your beer :) ESN organises a party on some Thursdays and Tandem language meetings every Monday.
If you are keen on sport - ESN organises sports matches (volleyball, basketball, football) every week, sometimes we also try out some new sports like climbing or ice skating. There are many gyms in Krakow (the most popular one is Platinium), at least four climbing centres, swimming pools (the AGH swimming pool is only 3 minutes from the dorms), parks and just whatever you want ;)
If you are an artistic spirit - ESN has its own Band that you can join to sing or play an instrument during the whole semester. What’s more, Krakow is known to be an artistic capital of Poland so you will definitely find something for yourself even though it will be harder without knowing Polish. We have a Philharmonic and an Opera, in Teatr Stary you can sometimes watch a theatre play with English subtitles (https://stary.pl/en/repertoire/calendar/ - plays with subtitles are marked with English flag). In Kino Kijow there are transmissions of plays and ballets from all over the world (usually once a month). We have a Film Music Festival in May, Festival OFF Camera April-May, Festival Materia Prima, Night of Museums (free admission to all museums+extra attractions), Night of Scientists (with fantastic lectures and experiments) and many more! Not mentioning all the lectures and other events organised every day. Do you have difficulty finding information about something in English? Ask your Mentor, we are sure he will be happy to help you with that ;)
You’re looking for a book in English? Check out: http://www.massolit.com/ , http://derevolutionibus.com.pl/en/about-us/ (there is a section with English science books), many English bookstores or Wypożyczalnia Zbiorów Obcojęzycznych in Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna (Regional Public Library, where you can find also books in Spanish, French, German and other languages).
You’re a crazy traveller? Great! We organise trips to Lviv, St.Petersburg and Lapland every semester. You can also travel to other cities in Poland by yourself as trains in Poland are really affordable (check question number 18).
27. Does anyone in Poland speak English?
Yes, all young people :) But unfortunately not ladies in the dorms and from the University (except ladies from DIS that speak several languages). So if you need to set up something with those ladies, ask your Mentor, someone from ESN or any Polish guy from the dorms to be your translator.
28. Can I learn Polish while being here?
Absolutely! There are free University courses of Polish, you can obtain more information about them from DIS or your supervisor (see above).
29. What is Orientation Week?
It is a week full of events at the beginning of the semester. Every day we provide you with a little bit of entertainment and the possibility to integrate and get new friends. Orientation Week starts on with Welcome Meeting where members of ESN, as well as workers from DIS (Department for International Students), will welcome you to your incredible adventure. Look for details of this incredible week on our facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/esnagh/
Didn’t find the information you were looking for? Contact us on our facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/esnagh/ .